For many patients, time with their OB/GYN is limited to an annual appointment where the physician is only in the room for a matter of minutes. Bringing up the topic of infertility can be daunting when you are unsure of what questions to even ask, especially while you’re in the stirrups.
Since many OB/GYNs are not necessarily focused on infertility, it is crucial for you to be your own advocate and get them to listen up to your concerns and questions. Here is a guide to help you take control of your health and make the most of your time with your OB/GYN.
6 Tips for Talking to Your OB/GYN about Infertility
1. Know what topics you’d like to discuss.
For any topic that you wish to discuss with your OB/GYN, be sure to write down your questions and take notes on any concerns or health issues you may have that could affect getting pregnant. Being prepared for your appointment is important.
2. Know what you want when it comes to trying to conceive.
The first question that you should ask yourself is “how old do you want to be when you have your LAST baby?” Then work backward from there to decide when the best time to start trying to conceive your first baby. “There is no such thing as ‘actively trying’ to conceive. That is because regular sexual activity without contraception has similar chances of pregnancy than timing intercourse by ovulation predictor kits or the like. Thus, if a woman under the age of 35 has been having unprotected intercourse for a year and has not become pregnant then it is time to see a fertility specialist. If a woman is over the age of 35, generally we recommend seeking help after 6 months,” states Dr. Ricardo A. Yazigi, of our Bel Air and Towson offices.
3. Ask the tough questions.
If you’d like to begin trying for your family, now is the time to ask your OB/GYN if there is anything in your medical history that could impact your chances of a successful pregnancy. Pelvic surgeries, irregular cycles, and painful or heavy periods could all be early warning signs to see a fertility specialist sooner.
4. Keep track of your menstrual cycles, which provides helpful information about your fertility potential.
Though female age is a the number one indictor of fertility health, women of any age should not wait to see a fertility specialist if they have irregular menstrual cycles as that could be a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, among other conditions. The absence of a menstrual period on a regular basis is typically the number one indicator that a problem may be present. If a menstrual cycle is heavy and painful then this could be a sign of endometriosis. Your OB/GYN should be able to help you understand if your cycle is irregular and order the appropriate blood test and ultrasound to confirm.
5. Know that simple fertility testing can provide helpful answers as to why you are not conceiving.
Four simple tests will give you many answers to your fertility. Some OB/GYNs can perform these diagnostic tests; we recommend seeing a reproductive endocrinologist for testing.
An evaluation typically includes:
- A detailed medical history
- Ovarian reserve testing with blood test to check follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol, and anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels.
- A transvaginal ultrasound performed on the second, third, or fourth day of the menstrual cycle to count the number of follicles (egg sacs) in each ovary
- A hysterosalpingogram (HSG), a dye test to evaluate if the Fallopian tubes are open
- Semen analysis
Testing at Shady Grove Fertility, depending on the timing of the menstrual cycle, can be completed quickly, frequently in as little as a month. In addition to a faster turnaround time, patients often find that completing all of their testing at a fertility center is easier. In the majority of cases, all testing from blood work and ultrasounds to HSGs and the semen analysis can be completed in one of our 25 locations.
6. Know your options to preserve your fertility for the future.
If you’re not ready to begin a family in the near future, talk to your OB/GYN about preserving your fertility through egg freezing. Egg freezing represents a way to suspend your fertility in time, preventing the decrease in quality and quantity that inevitably comes with age. You will, of course, still continue to age. But the eggs that you freeze will stay suspended in time at the quality present at the time of the freeze. Your OB/GYN will be able to guide you on if this is the right decision for your family planning.
Your OBGYN is there for YOU. By being prepared for your next appointment you will be able to advocate for your own fertility health and get your physician to listen up.
If you have questions regarding infertility testing or would like to schedule a new patient appointment, please call our New Patient Center at 877-971-7755 or click to schedule an appointment.
At Shady Grove Fertility, we’re here to give you the caring support you deserve as you start or grow your family. As a leading fertility and IVF center of excellence, we offer patients individualized care, innovative financial options, over 30 accepted insurance plans, and pregnancy rates among the highest of all national centers. We offer patients the convenience of 19 full-service and 6 satellite locations across Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. More than 1,700 physicians choose Shady Grove Fertility to refer their patients, and more than 96 percent of our patients say they would recommend Shady Grove Fertility’s 39 physicians to a friend. With 10 Shady Grove Fertility babies born each day, your dream of starting or growing your family is within reach.